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Jul 11, 2009 05:00 PM

Queen and Beaver

Gonna have to pull a reverse ferret on this one... I really liked the concept when I first went, was happy to chalk any shortcomings up to being a new place, but I went back for the third time today, and sadly the food is not up to scratch. I really hope they succeed, but today's showing left a lot to be desired. It seems that they are being too ambitious, without the kitchen strength to execute.

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  1. Squeakycheese,

    What did you have? Could you describe why or how you feel the kitchen's ambitions overstretch their execution? Details!

    I haven't been yet so I'm curious.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

      A lot of things... I don't really want to trash the place, as I said I really hope they succeed, but problems have been:
      1) Cock-a-leekie soup with PRUNES? in it. It would be great of they just used a strong chicken stock. They included good white chicken meat.
      2) Bacon sarnie... they failed to trim the rind from the bacon, so it was hard to eat, very, very chewy.
      3) My wife had the fish and chips, she reported it was uneven wrt the batter, with a quite heavy distribution at one end.

      Overall, we concluded that they still need to get better at what they serve. Don't get me wrong, it's better than the average pub grub, but really they need to raise their game a bit to realise their full potential.

      Especially as the area they are in gets a lot of tourists... who might not be up for some quite esoteric English staples.

        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          "Cock-a-leekie soup with PRUNES?"

          My Mother is Lanark-born (East Coast Scotland), and now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

          She has made me cock-a-leekie soup with prunes since I was a wee boy.

          So I would hazard a guess that this is a pretty damn traditional recipe!

          I'm going for lunch this coming Monday and so I'll give you my personal report then.

        2. re: Squeakycheese

          "who might not be up for some quite esoteric English staples"

          Who says they need to rely upon the tourist trade?

          I'd like to think that Toronto diners are getting a little more adventurous, non?

          Looking at the menu without actually sampling, I'd have to say that I am quite excited by some of the dishes.

      1. What is a "reverse ferret" BTW?

        I have googled it back-to-front and it makes no sense.

        Sorry, being pedantic.

        2 Replies
        1. This has been posted before. I agree with your comments about the food. I think the way to enjoy this place, is to not go for the food. Go watch a game, relax on their sofas, have a pint and some above average pub fair at above average prices.
          But you are right, it was a missed opportunity.

          1. I realize this is an older thread, but it seems to be the only one devoted to Q&B so I thought I'd resurrect it.

            We visited for the first time last night and found the food very good, the service charming, and the space warm and inviting (on a cold, rainy night!). The reviews here would most all have been shortly after the Q&B opened, and it seems to me that they've worked out the kinks.

            The menu is interesting and unexpected with lots of pub classics with interesting slightly gastro-twists (venison cobbler, rabbit and potato pie, etc.). I had the fish and chips, a generous serving of fish with wonderful thick fries (even better doused with vinegar). We'd go back just to drink pints and eat fries. Mr. Rabbit had the lamb curry, which was a nice plate but could have been revved up spice-wise for his taste. He started with a sardine toast with balsamic, simple and satisfying. The cocktail list is short, but properly executed (we sampled an Old Fashioned and a Pimm's Cup). And desserts were pretty fab too... especially the homemade whiskey-gingerbread ice cream that came with the butter tart pie.

            We sat at the bar and although they were busy service was personable and very attentive (in a good way, not annoyingly so). Our cheque was under $100 (one app, two mains, three drinks, two desserts) before tax and after tip.

            Despite the negative tenor of some of these early reviews I would encourage people to give this place another shot. We were impressed with what they're doing and we'll definitely be back.

            PS - British gangster film night on Mondays - ha!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Rabbit

              Good review, the Q&B has actually become quite a regular spot for me as well. They do a lot of things very well, I've had excellent service my last 3 visits, and the ambience is terrific. Having recently done a bit of a pub crawl in London, the Q&B certainly would not be out of place in an area like Belgravia, and Londoners would be packing the place for sure.

              1. re: childofthestorm

                agreed. very good food and excellent service on a busy night. everyone in our party was happy with their order. The burger (ordered medium rare) is untraditional but still a top contender in this town, and I have tried many of the contenders. The lamb chops (medium) were also done very well.
                I think the term gastropub is definitely earned. love the interior setting too. I dont live anywhere near the place, but should I find myself in that area, this would be my go-to choice. look forward to trying the fish and chips.

                1. re: childofthestorm

                  I really like this place. Their steak and kidney pudding is the best steak and kidney that I've had in an Ontario restaurant for a long long time. They'll even throw in oysters! An added bonus is that the downstairs is busy but not loud.

                2. re: Rabbit

                  Hmm interesting hubby's F&C were far from generously portioned yesterday. We found the food overpriced and underwhelming in general. But the weirdest thing was the wood-smoked fruit pie at dessert. NOT a good idea to wood fire pie, in case anyone was wondering. The other desserts were good, I enjoyed the steamed ginger pudding never having had that kind of traditional steamed caked before. But if my 5 year old hadn't pretty much destroyed the pie trying to find edible bits I would have sent it back as the taste was just WRONG. She told me the crust was "burned" and I looked and said, looks slightly overbrowned but nothing terrible... tasted it and realized what she meant; it was smoked pie.
                  Love the vibe of the place and the service was great. I'd go back for beer and snacks or dessert but not a meal.

                3. Has anyone had their sunday feast options?

                  I'm thinking of rounding up some friends and having the lamb.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: radiopolitic

                    Went Sunday night for the Sunday roast. It was for a friend's birthday and we had the front room booked. Having been to pubs in London, Manchester, Cork, Dublin, Trilee and elsewhere I can say the atmosphere is bang on. The smell, interior, baseboard heaters et al. Service was extremely friendly and accommodating. Dinner was served family style and included roast beef, yorkshire pudding, vegetables, roasted potatoes and a whole suckling pig. The suckling pig was fantastic. Smoky, sweet with crispy skin and moist inside. Delicious, Roast Beef was equally good. It was served with a delicious gravy. The roasted potatoes were roasted potatoes. The yorkshire puddings may have suffered from sitting a bit long while the pig was carved, but still good. I can't remember the name of the beer my girlfriend had but I tasted it and really liked it. It was a stout and a strong coffee finish to it. I commented that it would make an excellent ice cream. For dessert we split a sticky toffee pudding and it was delicious. All told it was a great experience and for a large group it's a wonderful idea. I'm probably going to take my family there soon since they are anglophiles and will likely love it.

                    Forgot to add that had two vegetarians in the group and they were well looked after. For the main the kitchen prepared a mushroom pithiviere and they were very happy with it.